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MSP Open Judging - What you were afraid to ask


Heisler
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Judging is very educational for sure.  I am so glad I get to do it here in Colorado occasionally.  You get to see even the big names do stuff that you do--you just have to look for it a bit harder. :D  And Michael and Kris hate me.  I am sure of it.  Really.  :D

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As far as techniques/styles go, I may say something like "too much gloss sealant is detracting from this mini" or "the drybrushing appears a little chalky" or something else along those lines, but pretty much every technique/style (I'm lumping them together on purpose) does have its place if executed well.  The trick is, I'm always leery of the "that's just my style" statement, which can sometimes come across as an excuse to use a familiar (but maybe not most appropriate) technique rather than a valid artistic defense.  Heck, I feel like I do the same thing at times when I may choose to avoid adding some wear and tear to a mini of mine because "my style is bright and happy".  Is that really the case, or am I just scared of "messing up" my mini with a possibly very appropriate technique that I feel I don't execute as well as other techniques?  What I am trying to say (maybe not very well...) is that every technique or style, when executed well, can and should receive its due affirmation and approval (and the judges want to give that!), but we all need to keep pushing ourselves to broaden our skill sets so that we can have the right "tools" ready for the "right" applications (understanding that art is subjective and that there may be many "right" tools and applications).

 

Hopefully that whole post has slightly more clarity than a puddle of mud...   :lol:

It's interesting to know how an unconventional style would be judged.

 

In another thread, I wondered how a Van Gogh style mini would be judged. The very visible brush strokes of impressionism when viewed up close, and exaggerated colors (which *is* common in miniature painting as high contrasts are pretty necessary at that scale).

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keep in mind with art, a style can be done well, and poorly. most of the famous impressionists had classical training and a very good understanding of light and color.  their work reflected that understanding and training.  they weren't just slinging paint, but making conscious decisions, addressing composition, using color theory, making a consistent light source work, etc etc. It's harder than it looks to do well.  At our scale, we often don't have space for more than highlight, midtone, shadow; so it isn't wrong to see those transitions as long as it makes sense as a whole and is consistent.

 

I think consistency is one of the things that is the hardest to do and stick with.  I know I become fed up with a mini about the point where I need to buckle down and fix "all those little bits."  That's what takes us from good to better.  Discipline.  Sadly, because I has no willpower!  :lol:

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Well put, Kris.

 

As someone with a fair bit of experience in both judging and being judged in a variety of arts, little of this is a surprise...but it's incredibly good information to have laid out in plain terms.

 

I think the only time I've disagreed with any judging I've received at Rcon has been...well, every time I've entered, the judges have chosen a piece other than the one I expected them to judge. But the scores I've received have been pretty in line with my expectations.

 

Thanks for putting this up for the forums!

 

This is always an interesting question. Anecdotally I would say that 50% of the time the piece that we pick is not the piece that you put your heart and soul into. This choice by the judges is one of the reasons that we encourage multiple entries in a category. You become so close to your favorite or primary entry that you missed stuff that should have been obvious. You were focused on one aspect of it to the detriment of something else and overall it its inconsistent because of the differences in techniques. Maybe you blew us away with your NMM or sheer (NNN) technique but something else fell by the wayside. Conversely the piece you are less invested in suddenly features some of your overall best work. Maybe your shaded metallic doesn't blew the judge away but its very good and it matches with the rest of the piece. Overall the piece you think is second best because you didn't spend as much time on it is better because you are more relaxed with it, more open minded, maybe tried something new that really set it apart from the rest without trying to go overboard.

 

I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

Edited by Heisler
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Well put, Kris.

 

As someone with a fair bit of experience in both judging and being judged in a variety of arts, little of this is a surprise...but it's incredibly good information to have laid out in plain terms.

 

I think the only time I've disagreed with any judging I've received at Rcon has been...well, every time I've entered, the judges have chosen a piece other than the one I expected them to judge. But the scores I've received have been pretty in line with my expectations.

 

Thanks for putting this up for the forums!

 

This is always an interesting question. Anecdotally I would say that 50% of the time the piece that we pick is not the piece that you put your heart and soul into. This choice by the judges is one of the reasons that we encourage multiple entries in a category. You become so close to your favorite or primary entry that you missed stuff that should have been obvious. You were focused on one aspect of it to the detriment of something else and overall it its inconsistent because of the vary levels of detail. Maybe you blew us away with your NMM or sheer (NNN) technique but something else fell by the wayside. Conversely the piece you are less invested in suddenly features some of your overall best work. Maybe your shaded metallic doesn't blew the judge away but its very good and it matches with the rest of the piece. Overall the piece you think is second best because you didn't spend as much time on it is better because you are more relaxed with it, more open minded, maybe tried something new that really set it apart from the rest without trying to go overboard.

 

I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

 

That's... very useful. Actually this whole thread is great. Thank you!!

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I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

You mean I CAN'T charter a plane to bring everything I've ever painted in my life to enter?!!!! *purple text of sarcasm*

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I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

You mean I CAN'T charter a plane to bring everything I've ever painted in my life to enter?!!!! *purple text of sarcasm*
I drove, so bringing everything I have ever painted was in the realm of possible.
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On 11/1/2016 at 12:44 PM, Mr Melons said:

 

On 11/1/2016 at 10:59 AM, Heisler said:

I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

You mean I CAN'T charter a plane to bring everything I've ever painted in my life to enter?!!!! *purple text of sarcasm*

 

 

Yes you can! (despite purple text of sarcasm)

Just don't blame me when you pull a certificate of merit when the judges decided to random choose which mini they are going to judge.

 

Really, the five most recent pieces are most likely going to show us everything we want to know about your skill level. (Serious)

 

And I would appreciate it if we could try and keep this thread on topic.

Edited by Heisler
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For some people around here, the 5 most recent pieces could span years...

 

I'm not one of them, but...

 

More on topic, Say 1/X minis I may bring next year for a given category is... of a drastically different style than the others. Is it worth it/helpful to the judges to have that on the table? Do the other entered items impact the score of the mini being judged?

I hope that makes sense.

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*snip*

 

I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

You need to qualify this with "Except Ary, who may have completed one mini in a year, two if we're lucky." :lol:

 

The chances of me bring five entries is... slim. I may be able to get two done, but of the last five minis I've painted to completion...

 

One is in ReaperBryan's office.

One broke and is irrepairable.

The last three were painted sometime in the 1990's... around 1991... ish.

 

I'm Slooooooooooow.

Edited by Kheprera
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More on topic, Say 1/X minis I may bring next year for a given category is... of a drastically different style than the others. Is it worth it/helpful to the judges to have that on the table? Do the other entered items impact the score of the mini being judged?

 

I hope that makes sense.

I will say, of the two pieces I brought this year, one was a fairly traditional piece that I'm very happy with: bright colors, high highlights and deep shadows, some simple freehand patterns on fabric; the transitions/blending are smooth (not incredibly so, but smooth). The other is a piece painted entirely in OSL, with very few colors and, IMO, relatively choppy transitions. I'm very happy with the second piece, but I think of it as an experiment that went well, not as a particularly high quality piece.

 

The judges chose the piece with the OSL and awarded Bronze. Rhonda was kind enough to discuss the choice, and said both were well-executed, but the OSL was a more difficult technique which the judges felt pointed to my skill better than the more "usual" mini, despite some of the rougher aspects of the overall paint job.

 

So, what I took from this was: A) bring multiple entries. And B) bring entries that show you are stretching a bit.

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For some people around here, the 5 most recent pieces could span years...

 

I'm not one of them, but...

 

More on topic, Say 1/X minis I may bring next year for a given category is... of a drastically different style than the others. Is it worth it/helpful to the judges to have that on the table? Do the other entered items impact the score of the mini being judged?

 

I hope that makes sense.

 

Once a mini is picked to be judged then the other entries have no impact. There may be a lively discussion on which piece can be rated the highest but once the decision is made the judging is focused on the entry selected.

 

As far as style being drastically different one will till stand out to the judges as your strongest piece or the one they feel they can score the highest. When we were doing trophy judging for Genghis Con a friend of mine entered every category (there were at least 8) and each mini was painted in an entirely different "style". He came close to sweeping the whole show and won best of show. The judges at the time had no idea that he painted almost all of the winning entries because his "style" was drastically different from one category to the next it was his challenge to himself that year.

 

I can usually recognize the entries of most of the major painters that have attended ReaperCon. In the early days of trophy judging and anonymous entries I ticked off some of the painters in the master class as I went down the row and identified each painter (there were 16 entries I got two wrong, both of whom were painters I wasn't terribly familiar with yet).

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      In addition, $300 cash will be offered to purchase one of the Tiger Lily entries from its painter to give as a gift to Jason Wiebe so he can have on display in his home in honor of the late great Tiger Lily. This will be something we go over the entries with Jason Wiebe on to find his favorite entry (which might differ from the prize ordering above). Please note - this purchase of the entry would be above and beyond any prizes won in the overall ReaperCon painting competition and the Dark Sword Mfr. Awards. And this is optional for the painter if approached (as a painter might want to keep the piece for their own collection). 

      * Any entry with the Tiger Lily Anthro Pug Miniature in it will automatically be put in this category as it relates to Dark Sword judging of the entry for the prizes listed above. The only exception to this would be the 13 and under category as the entry will be allowed to be judged in both and receive benefits from both categories. 

      The Dark Sword Miniatures Manufacturer Awards are open to all painters. To be eligible for the prize support listed above, the entries must be new entries, never entered into any other painting competitions. In addition, no entries can be commissions from Dark Sword Miniatures for painted studio models. This means Dark Sword studio painters can enter if they so desire, but their entries must be brand new creations not commissioned from Dark Sword and must also adhere to the eligibility requirements above. Please note - Dark Sword entries will also get the coveted "double dip" from being part of the overall ReaperCon painting competition as well. So one entry can potentially win multiple prizes/awards!
      Galladoria Games
      Galladoria is presenting a $100 First Prize for the best painted Galladoria Miniature in the competition and a $50 price for the runner up. They attended Reaper Con last year under the name Forge Prints. 
      DGS Games
      DGS Games will present manufacturer’s awards, DGS Master Crafter Coins, to participants in the Reaper Con Painting Competition in the Painters, Open, and Diorama categories.
      DGS will award a gold, silver and bronze coin to the top three participants in each category who made use of DGS Games models as their subject.
      DGS Games models may be converted but the conversion must employ only scratch materials or materials from other DGS Games models.  Models or parts of models from other manufacturers may not be used in any entry wishing to be considered for these awards.
      DGS Games will identify a panel of judges to award the Master Crafter Coins.  Each entry will be judged on its own merit of painting execution, presentation, and skill.
      Entries from artists who have been professionally commissioned by DGS Games are ineligible.
       
      Scale 75
       
      Scale 75
      Best Scale 75 Historical Figure or Bust
               $25.00 Coupon to our web store. 
       
      Best Scale 75 Fantasy Figure or Bust
               $25.00 Coupon to our web store. 
       
      Best Smog Rider (CHIBI)
               $25.00 Coupon to our web store.
       
      Bet Scale 75 piece overall piece by a junior
               $25.00 Coupon to our web store.
       
      Talon Games (CAV)
      Best Individual CAV Model: Any single-model figure.
      Best CAV "Squad": This category allows for multiple models (minimum four models) as part of a cohesive unit.
      Best CAV Diorama: This category covers models with a scenic base where the entry is telling a story to the viewer and may include multiple models.
    • By Heisler
      There are quite a number of threads regarding the Reaper Con Painting Competition. As Labor Day tends to get here at the speed of light I thought I would create a short index to the various threads. There is a lot of information useful to both the beginner and the veteran competition painter here, so pick a thread to start with and come join the fun!
      http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/60626-so-you-are-thinking-of-entering-the-painting-competition-at-reapercon/
      http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/71583-msp-open-judging-what-you-were-afraid-to-ask/
      http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/82720-judging-the-reaper-con-msp-open-painters-division/
      http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/82789-judging-the-reaper-con-msp-open-open-division/
      http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/82838-judging-the-reaper-con-msp-open-diorama-division/
      http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/83014-judging-the-reaper-con-msp-open-armorordnance-division/
      http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/85288-manufacturer-awards-for-the-reaper-con-2019-painting-competition/
    • By Heisler
      This is the fourth, and last, in a series of four posts each concentrating on a different entry category. You can find information about the scoring system itself in the Painter Division post. From here forward I will just concentrate on how the component guidelines apply to the other three divisions.
       
      Armor/Ordnance Division
      At MMSI in Chicago and elsewhere around the globe this category is usually filled with armor, planes, artillery and the like. At the MSP Open it is more along the lines of the red-headed stepchild. This division shares a lot with the Open Division with workmanship and creativity being big components of the scoring. While many entrants are willing to spend hours pouring over a single miniature and eradicating mold lines and filling gaps, they seem to be loath to do that with an entry into the armor/ordnance category. Just like the other divisions preparation is key, a visible mold line or a seam is likely to drop you a whole medal category in the judging. Since many of the entries are from plastic and resin kits visible seams are usually the biggest problem I see as a judge, following that would be mold lines in difficult to reach places. At the 2018 MSP Open there were a lot of larger Games Workshop pieces. Almost everyone single of these had visible mold lines in the hoses and seams in the armor panels on the back of the legs. This dropped everyone of these entries a medal level. Decals are often used in this division and there is nothing wrong with using them. You will get marked down for poor application though, treat a decal like freehand and don’t just slop it into place. There is a right way and a wrong way to apply decals and it can be a bit of an art to the proper application.
      Again, if you have just a single entry then the judges can just go ahead and score your entry, no discussion is necessary. If you have multiple entries, then there will be a discussion between the judges on which entry they want to score. That conversation is typically the only conversation although these discussions tend to be longer than they might be in the Painter Division. However, when selecting the scoring entry the conversation is still based on “I can score this one higher than the others” or words to that affect, till they come to a decision just as it would be for the Painter Division. If multiple entries are visually very thematic the judges may decide to judge them together as a single entry.
       
      Let’s take a quick look at the scoring guidelines the judges use (which is published as part of the MSP Open rules. These are guidelines are subject to change.
      Difficulty: 15%
      Creativity: 10% 
      Workmanship: 30%
      Painting Skill: 35% 
      Presentation: 10% 
       
      Difficulty: This and the Open Division are the places where difficulty does have a significant impact. The difficulty of assembling some of the kits available on the market can vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. Especially when dealing with a plastic kit like those produced by Tamiya and Games Workshop to the five piece resin game oriented kits put out by other manufacturers.
       
      Creativity: There is not a lot of creativity involved with a straight up kit build, but when someone goes to the extra lengths to “upgrade” their kits with after market or hand made parts that impacts the creativity component. This is the equivalent of a conversion in the other divisions.
       
      Workmanship: This is really a key component for this division and the proposed change reflects that. Any type of non-painting effort is represented here. This is includes your ability to do conversions and/or scratch sculpt or at least be able to blend your entry in with the scene you have constructed. A missed mold line, poor assembly or a poorly executed conversion could easily drop you a while numeric value in the scoring.
       
      Painting Skill: Everything that was said about painting still applies in the Diorama Division but there is less emphasis. At this point workmanship and creativity components exceed the painting component (as currently proposed). There are a few other mediums that are often used in this category, like weathering powders, the application of those mediums falls into the painting component. While we don’t expect your abilities to be exactly equal in those areas you cannot count on your ability to paint alone to carry you over the top.
       
      Presentation: While not the most important component in the Armor/Ordnance Division it is another example of getting the little things right. A nice, well executed base will set the “scene” for your entry. It can be the simple or it can be more elaborate. I would save the effort on a really elaborate base for an entry in the Open or Diorama divisions. This component is one that a judge will often use when making that final decision between scores, a tie breaker as it were.
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